In the recent past, the Governments of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have done the peoples of the two countries proud, by taking their cooperation to another level, not only in tackling cross-border security issues, but also in pursing and accelerating joint economic development programmes.
The achievements hitherto registered by the two countries since the days of the Umoja Wetu operation, early last year, serve as testimony to what the renewed bilateral ties will bring to the peoples of the two countries, and the wider region.
While Kigali and Kinshasa continue to further their military and security cooperation, other joint initiatives, including cross-border infrastructure programmes under the CEPGL arrangement, are also in high gear. The recent visit to Kigali by Congolese President Joseph Kabila and the earlier one by President Paul Kagame to Kinshasa, were evident landmarks in the growing confidence in the new partnership on both sides.
Traditionally, the populations along the two countries’ borders are interdependent, and the new relationship means everything to them. But it’s clear that the benefits of the new cooperation are being felt across the region.
That Rwanda and DRC were able to put aside their past differences and agreed to work together for mutual benefit, without the involvement of a third party, is an affirmation that Africans are indeed capable of solving their own problems. We all have common challenges and need to work together to find common solutions.
This is the time to march on, and to address the few remaining challenges, especially the continued human rights violations against, mostly, Congolese women and children by the remnants of genocidal militias – FDLR rebels. It’s time to end the long suffering of innocent civilians, and that can only be done by disarming and prosecuting these criminal militias.